Each month of the year has its own special look and feel, but April is one of those months that’s hard to beat. And for us it’s all down to one flower. Each year we eagerly await the beginning of April. Why? Bluebells, early in April you start looking for the long green leaves that have been above ground for many weeks. Looking hard you spy the flower spike just starting to emerge. The tinge of blue hidden amongst the green leaves is the promise of things to come.
Here in the UK our Bluebells are mostly found in our woodlands. Mind you, not just any woodland. For Bluebells to thrive it has to be old woodland. The soil in old woodland has not been disturbed for years and this provides the perfect home, because Bluebells don’t take kindly to being disturbed. The older the woodland you walk through, the more chance you have of a spectacular display of flowers.
No matter how many times we have photographed Bluebells before, we always find an excuse for another visit to an old wood, to take some more. What better way to spend an afternoon than in woodland full of the blue flowers. If you are lucky it will have rained not long before you get there. The rain brings out the scent. The air is intoxicating, the aromas of wild Bluebells fills the wood and overwhelms the senses.
Bluebells are only here for a brief period. As the days lengthen and the trees start to flush the light disappears from the woodland floor. The display of the blue flowers is over. Some flowers will have been pollinated, by insects who don’t mind the cold days of spring and will set seed. Many more will have to rely on the rhizomes underground in order to propagate. This is why Bluebells are so slow to colonise an area.
By May our woodlands will have returned to the realm of the tree, their leaves shading out all competition on the ground. No place for flowers, until next April that is.